From pv magazine Global
First Solar said it is buying Swedish manufacturer Evolar AB in a bid to accelerate its efforts to develop tandem PV technology. The US solar module maker will initially pay around $38 million, but it might later pay an additional $42 million, subject to certain technical milestones being achieved in the future.
First Solar said in a statement on Friday that the acquisition will accelerate the development of next generation PV technology, including high efficiency tandem devices. It aims to integrate Evolar’s know-how with its existing research and development streams, intellectual property portfolio, and expertise in developing and commercially scaling thin-film PV.
“This acquisition supplements our existing R&D streams with expertise in thin film semiconductors that complement CadTel. We expect that it will accelerate our efforts to develop tandem technology that continues our commitment to ultra-low carbon, responsibly produced solar,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer of First Solar.
Evolar, which was founded in 2019 by now-insolvent CIGS thin-film manufacturer Solibro, focuses on developing solutions, including manufacturing equipment, to commercialize tandem solar technology with perovskite thin films.
The company says that its unique evaporation technology enables it to apply a thin-film layer of perovskite, known as “PV Power Booster” technology, to increase cell energy yield by 25% at a minimal cost. It is currently in the process of commercializing its turnkey production line for perovskite cells, which can be seamlessly integrated into silicon production lines to upgrade tandem cell production.
Last year, Evolar put its encapsulated, semitransparent standalone perovskite modules through a series of industry-standard accelerated reliability tests. The results suggested that the cells could stand up to 25 years if deployed outdoors.
Evolar holds the current world record for CIGS research solar cells with an efficiency of 23.6%. The company collaborates closely with Uppsala University and has established a research laboratory in Uppsala, Sweden. This marks First Solar’s first R&D facility in Europe, although the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
After the transaction closes, around 30 of Evolar’s R&D staff will join First Solar and collaborate with the company’s team of approximately 60 scientists at its research technology center in Santa Clara, California, and development teams in Perrysburg, Ohio.
The Perrysburg facility, representing an investment of up to $370 million announced in October 2022, is believed to be the first of its scale in the Western hemisphere. It is expected to accelerate the development and production of advanced thin film PV and tandem PV modules and is scheduled to be completed in 2024.
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